5 Golden Rules for Developers: Preparing Web and Mobile Apps for the Biggest Holiday Shopping Season Yet
November 08, 2018

Eran Kinsbruner
Perfecto

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There's no place like the web and smartphones for the holidays. With the biggest shopping season of the year quickly approaching, retailers are gearing up to experience the most traffic their online platforms (web, mobile, IoT) have ever seen. According to Deloitte's 2018 holiday survey, nearly 60 percent of total holiday shopping is expected to happen online this year, with an added two-thirds looking to do their research on the web.

With the ghosts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday past constantly on their mind, developers across organizations are working around the clock to avoid experiencing performance and capacity issues. While a little glitch in the payment processing page or slow-loading sites may not seem like a big deal to most, it's losing retailers big money. During Prime Day this summer, Amazon experienced one hour of downtime, which is estimated to have cost the ecommerce giant anywhere from $72 million to $99 million dollars.

To avoid missing out on millions this holiday season, below are the top five ways developers can keep their apps and websites up and running without a hitch.

1. Get ahead of those "bah, hum(BUGS)"

As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm – or in this case, the bug. To get ahead of common glitches, continuous testing ahead of – and throughout – the holidays can help to minimize downtime, poor app performance and less-than-optimal user experiences when the sales are the sweetest.

Quick tip: Continuously run all different types of tests (performance, user experience, accessibility and security) as part of the continuous testing workflow against a robust production environment.

2. Use gift guides to inform testing strategies

While the latest smartphones, tablets, laptops and smart watches are at the top of many consumers' wish lists this holiday season, it's important to remember that there are already many early-adopters who will be using these devices – and their new operating systems (OS) – to do their shopping.

With Apple recently announcing nearly 10 new products and iOS 12, Google shipping out the brand-new Pixel 3 and Android Pi adoption soaring, teams must consider each and every device and operating system on the market when preparing their apps and websites for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Quick tip: Make sure the testing lab is properly configured to cover a range of device and OS combinations to avoid glitches. Necessities for 2018 include the new iPhones (XS and XR), iPad and Google Pixel, as well as iOS 12 and Android Pi. However, don't forget legacy and -1 versions and devices that are still popular, such as iPad 2 on iOS9.3.5 and iPhone 5C on iOS10.3.3.

3. Help "Friends and Family" find the best deals

Popular social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are increasingly becoming popular platforms for not only sharing great deals – but also acting on them. With features like in-app browsers built into mobile applications, more and more users are making purchases directly from their favorite vendors without leaving social media. This means vendors must make sure their sites are compatible with Instagram and Facebook's dimensions.

Quick tip: Third party apps and APIs are often major contributors to overall web traffic. Ensure websites are operating accurately with in-app purchases by including hybrid-like apps such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and others as part of your test automation at scale both from a visual standpoint as well as from a functional one.

4. Redefine window shopping

The growing move towards progressive web apps (PWAs) to develop more engaging user experiences is perhaps one of the biggest changes for developers this holiday season. Simply put, PWAs are web apps that are installable and run outside the typical browser window to deliver an immersive and consistent user experience. According to a recent survey from Perfecto, 73 percent of respondents either plan to add or look into PWAs for their sites in the next year, so it's no secret why top retailers like eBay are exploring them too.

Quick tip: With PWAs come new, rich engagement capabilities including audio, image and location-based inputs, as well as push notifications. Automating PWA testing can help to simplify this process and deliver flawless user experiences in no time with the holidays just around the corner.

Watch those doorbuster deals

Doorbuster deals – especially when offered hourly or daily – result in major traffic increases, which can ultimately lead to glitches and sluggish loading times. Ongoing monitoring can help to identify production hiccups that may hurt a retailer's bottom line during its busiest days of the year.

Quick tip: Half the battle in development is knowing when and where something has gone wrong. Invest in tools that include robust, quality dashboards with smart insights for fast feedback to accelerate issues response. At the end of the day, the retailers that perform continuous testing and continuous monitoring in production are often the ones that come out on top during the holidays.

Eran Kinsbruner is Lead Technical Evangelist at Perfecto
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